Remember that when we talk about Betsy DeVos we are discussing a person whose confirmation hearing in 2017 when selected for her post was not only a disaster but proved to all education experts that she had absolutely no idea about education. In that hearing:
- She did not know what IDEA was – the Individuals With Disablilties Edcuation Act – and that it was a federal mandate that covers all schools.
- She did not know the difference between growth and proficiency when it came to student achievement.
- She would not commit to keeping from privatizing public schools.
- She talked about needing guns to defend schools from bears but would not back up “gun-free” zones in schools. Bears killed exactly zero students last year. She said that to Sen. Murphy from Connecticut, home of Sandy Hook
- She never really admitted to the fact that she and her family have contributed tens of millions of dollars to efforts to privatize public schools.
- She has not given over all documents for the ethics committee.
- 10 of the 12 Republicans on the HELP committee have received financial contributions from her.
- She smiled to damn much. It simply looked manufactured.
And this past April:
From that very report from The Hill:
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday expressed her displeasure with the U.S. history and geography test scores released this week as part of a report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
The 2018 assessments — administered to 42,700 eighth graders in 780 public and private schools across the nation — showed a drop in both U.S. history and geography scores, while civics scores stayed the same from 2014.
“The results are stark and inexcusable. A quarter or more of America’s 8th graders are what [the National Assessment of Educational Progress] defines as ‘below basic’ in U.S. history, civics and geography,” DeVos said in a statement.
Interesting that many of the students tested in this sample were not public school students or that many students do not have an in-depth knowledge of many things on the test because those topics may only be glossed over in the curricula that varies across the country.
But she gave so much credence to that NAEP test that is administered by the NCES.
It’s not the first time that DeVos has held on to NAEP scores as a benchmark of learning in America.
This was a tweet from her in March of 2018 concerning NAEP scores just released at that time:
Interesting that this week NCES has postponed giving the NAEP this year because of the pandemic. From Reuters:
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as “the nation’s report card,” previously had been planned to be held at the beginning of 2021 for hundreds of thousands of fourth and eighth graders in the United States.
“I have determined that NCES cannot at this time conduct a national-level assessment in a manner with sufficient validity and reliability to meet the mandate of the law”, NCES Commissioner James Woodworth said on Wednesday.
“I was obviously concerned about sending outsiders into schools and possibly increasing the risk of COVID transmission”, he said.
The very test that DeVos has used as a backbone to her arguments that public schools are failing is not being administered this year for two distinct reasons: its “validity and reliability” during the pandemic would not “meet the mandate of the law” and the “risk of COVID transmission.”
But DeVos will not give waivers to states to opt out of federally mandated tests in many cases this January.
That’s what happens when you put a punitive privatizing non-educator in the office of Secretary of Education.